Council's bid for tourists to 'respect' swimming holes
CONCERNS have been rife among some Bellingen Shire residents who said an influx of tourists had been littering and defecating at their iconic waterways over the summer.
Bellingen Shire Council has now taken measures in a bid to alleviate the ongoing issue, installing interpretive signage educating tourists on what constitutes appropriate behaviour when visiting Gleniffer's swimming holes.
The reserves, most commonly known as the Promised Land, have been under significant visitor pressure since the area has become a popular tourist draw card over recent years, according to the council.
The council adopted a plan to protect the environment of the Gleniffer Valley after evidence revealed visitor pressure at the Promised Land exceeds capacity during the peak season over summer, with the trend likely to increase.
During the peak season, the council report states water levels are at their lowest and pollutant and faecal contaminant levels are high.
It says this in combination with increase dust levels from traffic, damage by trampling and rubbish dumping is impacting on the reserves.
The signs have been installed at Broken Bridge, Angel Gabriel Capararo, Arthur Keough and Earl Preston reserves.
"Not only do the signs make a beautiful addition to our reserves, they also play a very important role in educating and dispersing our visitors," Mayor Dominic King said.
"They aim to raise awareness on how special the natural environment is, give tips on how to protect waterways, and emphasise the importance of respecting private property, as well as how to behave appropriately when visiting the valley."
The signs also play video content encouraging tourists to visit other swimming spots across the shire.
"The videos will aim to help reduce visitor numbers during peak periods by showcasing alternative locations like Dangar Falls in Dorrigo or our beautiful beaches in Urunga," Cr King said.
The signs were funded through Destination NSW's 2018 Regional Tourism Fund.